At long last, Valve has announced the return of the Dota Pro Circuit. In a short blog post, the Dota 2 publisher gave an outline on its plans to go through on an overhaul it previously discussed for the 2020-2021 season, and also suggested that a Dota 2 major may be coming sooner than expected.
In a surprising turn, Valve gave a specific date for fans to look forward to. The Dota Pro Circuit will return on January 18. That aligns with Valve’s previous plans for the pro Dota 2 scene, but there is one big change that was also confirmed.
Valve seems to be committing to the overhauled Dota Pro Circuit format it announced in February. This involves six regional leagues with upper and lower divisions, all of which would funnel into an interregional major tournament. Valve stated that the leagues will have 16 teams apiece, though it is unclear how many teams will take part in each division.
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot that’s left unclear. No details were given on the prize pool or the format for league play, and it is unclear exactly how the participating teams will be chosen. It is also unknown how these leagues will be organized and who will be operating the leagues.
Though this was the plan as of February, changes around the globe saw Valve acknowledge that it was making plans to shift to the same format being used in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This would have seen Valve assign a number of qualifying slots to each region for an interregional tournament, with teams competing for points in “regional majors” to determine the competitors.
— Beyond the Summit (@BeyondTheSummit) November 25, 2020
Valve previously stated that The International 10 is set to take place in August 2021 in Stockholm, Sweden. No new information was given in this latest blog post to suggest that plans had changed or been confirmed.
It is possible that things have shifted, however. Though The International traditionally takes place in August, the Dota Pro Circuit wraps in June to give competitors time to sort out travel and visa arrangements. A six-month season is certainly doable, but it’s far from ideal.